The Water Replies

Saturday 22nd May 2021 to
Sunday 13th June 2021

The Water Replies

The Water Replies is a participatory journaling and creative writing project, being shaped and led by poets Selina Nwulu and Caroline Bird. It invites creative responses from people of all ages living in the towns and villages along the estuary coastlines of Essex and Kent and has been capturing life by the estuary with words and images since March 2020. The feeling of connection to the estuary among the participants has given the project heightened significance and importance for many during lockdown.  Over 450 creative journals are with estuary residents with many already completed and ready to share during the festival. 

We have now launched the second stage of this project with the publication of The Water Replies: Notes on Teaching Contemporary Poetry. This book was born out of the global pandemic. Our original plan had been to work within schools and with young people across South Essex and North Kent to write poetry in response to the Thames Estuary, guided and inspired Selina and Caroline. This plan became unstuck when schools across the UK closed as Covid-19 became a reality and we had to look for a new way to continue The Water Replies. This book developed, in direct consultation with teachers and written by Caroline and Selina.  It is designed to inspire and support the creation of poetry with school pupils - but can be used by anyone interested to give poetry a go. It is a beautiful set of provocations, thoughts, ideas and some original works selected by Selina and Caroline designed to release the poet in all of us. 

With the book comes the accompanying invitation to send us at Estuary 2021 your poems for sharing through posters, murals, reading rooms and exhibition during the festival.

To accompany the book, we have also put together an online collection of worksheets, poems and teaching resources suitable for a broad range of ages, subjects and abilities.

- To download our free resources (PDF version of the book and our online worksheets), click here.
- To attend our launch of the printed book (12 Jan 2020) and register your interest in receiving a hard copy - click here.
- To get involved with our poetry call-out and have your students' work exhibited at Estuary 2021 in May/June 2021, click here.


If you are not a teacher or young person, but would still like to take part, we'd also really love to hear from you.  Please do download the book and send us your poetry to share.

Many thanks in advance - we can't wait to read them. 


Saturday 22nd May 2021 to
Sunday 13th June 2021


South Essex & North Kent

Estuary 2021 is made possible by

Principal Partners

creative-estuary   ace

Major Partners

ecc uok thurrock thames_gateway selep medway  thames estuary   ebbsfleet    mayor locatekent kentcc gravesham uoe bas_coun   south_coun Here for Culture

Commissioning Partners

book_fest community_fund heritage_fund creative_coast bexleysalford fpg lesnes Essex2020Logo

Festival Partners

arts_human uni_south uni_oxford uni_glas send_pier pla opp_se henley c2c roh southeastern

Festival Supporters

essex_diversity   raddison   uber